Are Old Combat Rifles Still A Viable Option For Self-Defense?

Are Old Combat Rifles Still A Viable Option For Self-Defense?

Are old combat rifles still a viable defensive option for gun owners? Can a World War II rifle still be an effective choice for prepping? You’d be surprised how often this kind of questions are asked.  And the answer is, it depends.

When questioned if old combat rifles, most of which are deemed obsolete by militaries and governments the world over, are still effective we have to look at the particular rifle. Yes, even an old Kentucky rifle will kill a man, and can be used for hunting. But do you want to get into a gunfight with a single shot muzzle loader that uses a flint for ignition?  If you fire that Kentucky, you will also generate a massive smoke cloud that shouts to an attacker, “Here am I”.  Such is the case with any black powder weapon.  Safe to say, black powder is off the menu.

But what about an older bolt gun, like a Lee Enfield or a Mosin? Well, you won’t want to clear rooms with one, but both rifles fire power 30 caliber bullets that helped win two world wars and have put venison in the freezer for millions of hunters.  If you live in a rural environment, an old bolt action rifle can surely come in handy and be a viable option in a SHTF scenario.

I also include rifles such as the G98 and K98 Mauser rifles and of course the venerable Springfield M1903 (which, by the way, is a Mauser).  You can throw M1917 and other surplus rifles from the early 20th century in this category as well.  As long as the weapon is in great shape, and has a great barrel, it is a viable option. Ammunition such as .303, .30-06, and 8mm Mauser can all easily be found at many gun shops, shows and online.  But stock up now.

However, if I had to choose an older rifle to bet my life on, I’ll pass by the old bolt guns and go straight towards rifles like the M1 Garand or the SKS, or even an M1 Carbine.  The SKS and M1 both shoot cartridges that can put down medium and even larger sized game animals and their 8-10 round capacity in a firefight can spell the difference between life and death.  The SKS can still be had for a reasonable price (south of $500), while the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine have both climbed north of $1000.

Keep in mind that same $1000 you’ll throw down for an M1 Garand can buy two mil-spec AR-15s. 

So, when it comes down to it, is the old war horse a viable option?  I would say it is a nostalgic option.  If you already own one it is viable.  But if you are choosing your first rifle, there are better firearms on the market for a defensive rifle, or SHTF gun.  AR-15s are cheap, as are some quality imported AKs when compared to the bucks you will shell out for a 70 year old combat weapon.


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About The Author

Zach Dunn

Zach Dunn is one of the owners of 1776TV and serves as Senior Editor. He is a passionate Constitutionalist. He enjoys the Outdoors, Firearms, and History. He is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Zach is married to Amy and they have a son and three daughters. He currently resides in the Mountains of North Carolina.